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Philemon Dickerson (1788 – December 10, 1862) was a United States congressman representing New Jersey, and was later a United States federal judge. He was the brother of Governor, then United States Senator, Mahlon Dickerson of New Jersey. Philemon Dickerson was the father of patent attorney Edward Nicholl Dickerson who had defended Samuel Colt and Charles Goodyear in their patent-infringement suits.[1]

Philemon Dickerson
12th Governor of New Jersey
In office
November 3, 1836 – October 27, 1837
Preceded byPeter D. Vroom
Succeeded byWilliam Pennington
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's At-large congressional district
In office
March 4, 1833 – November 3, 1836
Preceded bySilas Condit
Succeeded byWilliam Chetwood
In office
March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1841
Preceded byJohn B. Aycrigg
Succeeded byJohn B. Aycrigg
Member of the New Jersey State Assembly
In office
Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
In office
March 4, 1841 – December 10, 1862
Appointed byMartin Van Buren
Preceded byMahlon Dickerson
Succeeded byRichard S. Field
Personal details
Born(1788-01-11)January 11, 1788 or
(1788-06-26)June 26, 1788
Succasunna, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedDecember 10, 1862(1862-12-10) (aged 74)
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.


Dickerson was born in 1788 in the Succasunna section of Roxbury Township in Morris County, New Jersey.[1] The exact date of his birth varies depending on the source. Dickerson's Congressional and Judicial Biographies give his birthday as January 11, 1788. The National Governors Association and Dickerson's gravestone give a birthdate of June 26, 1788. Dickerson received an A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1808 and read law to be admitted to the bar in 1813. He practiced law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania until 1816, and then in Paterson, New Jersey until 1821. He served in the New Jersey General Assembly (1821–1822). In 1832, Dickerson was elected to the House of Representatives on the Democratic-Republican Party ticket. He served in Congress until he resigned during his second term to accept an appointment from the legislature to be Governor of New Jersey.

Dickerson won an election to Congress again in 1838, this time as a Democrat. Having lost his reelection bid in 1840, on February 22, 1841, Dickerson was nominated by President Martin Van Buren to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey which had been vacated by his brother Mahlon Dickerson. Mahlon had been appointed as a placeholder, so that his brother could finish his term in the closely divided Congress before taking the bench. Dickerson was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 27, 1841, and received his commission on March 2, 1841. He served in that office until his death, in 1862, in Paterson. Dickerson is buried at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Paterson.


  1. ^ a b "DICKERSON, Philemon, (1788–1862)". Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 25, 2013.

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